Sculpture, Franz Bergman, Vienna Bronze, Rebecca at the Well, Antique, Austria, c. 1900
Franz Xavier Bergman (1861-1936)
Rebecca at the Well
Vienna, Austria: c. 1900
11.5 inches high, 11.5 inches wide, 11.5 inches deep
A finely cast bronze sculpture of the biblical story Rebecca at the Well, Genesis 24. Rebecca (sometimes spelled Rebekah or Rebeccah) is shown with a pitcher of water by a well, offering it to Eliezer, a servant sent by Abraham. Eliezer’s mission was to find a suitable wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. Rebecca also offered water to the stranger’s camels; for her acts of kindness she was selected by Eliezer and approved by Abraham to be the wife of Isaac. Rebecca and Eliezer are rendered in fine detail, with the rectangular well in the foreground, on a large rocky surface.
The sculpture is inscribed in the base “Namgreb,” which is the last name of the artist, Franz Bergman, spelled backwards, though sometimes his name is given as Bergmann. He was a prolific sculptor and a owner of a Viennese foundry. He produced numerous bronzes — both patinated and cold-painted — in the Art Nouveau and Orientalist style. He is well known for erotic works as well as whimsical animal figures. The offered example is in patinated bronze, as issued, not painted. The well bears a slight resemblance to an inkwell, though is hole running right through the base without a hinged lid, lining or insert; overall the large work was most likely intended as a stand alone sculpture rather than an inkwell holder.
Condition: Generally fine overall, of dense heavy bronze.